A lot is made of New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese and his NFL Draft philosophy. Since he took over as GM in 2007, the common theme is "take the best player available." But going back to the 2004 NFL Draft when Big Blue traded for franchise quarterback Eli Manning, has the team really acted on that current philosophy or did Ernie Accorsi see things differently? Moreover, is that really the philosophy they follow now?
Rounds one through four of the NFL Draft are widely considered "impact rounds," so the best way to get a feel for where the Giants stand and what they value most is by looking at how they draft for value in those rounds. To do that, of course, you need to have an understanding of the NFL Draft value chart.
Below is a compilation of data based on the NFL Draft value chart and the Giants' selections over the first four rounds between 2004 and 2011.
|Position||Picks||Value||Avg. Value||Avg. Sel. #||Avg. Round|
Although Eli Manning wasn't drafted #1 overall by the Giants, his value selection by the San Diego Chargers was 3,000 which is where he falls in the above chart. If, however, you were to tally the value of the picks traded for him (including Phillip Rivers), the value would then be as follows:
- Phillip Rivers (4th overall) – 1,800
- 2004 3rd Round Pick – 265
- 2005 1st Round Pick – 1,200
- 2005 5th Round Pick – 34
- TOTAL: 3,299
Here is a look at the above information in a pie chart (keep in mind, percentages are rounded off):
What stands out most is that 71% of the value of all draft picks over the first four rounds since 2004 have been at four positions: Quarterback (the franchise QB), cornerback, defensive end and wide receiver.
What can be taken from that is simple: the Giants' strengths are most certainly built during the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. QB and WR result in the highly dangerous Big Blue passing attack, while DE and CB result in the equally as dangerous defensive pass rush.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, besides the quarterback (which, again, was the franchise QB with the highest value), the greatest value has been placed at the cornerback position, with four selections all averaging a first-round pick – Prince Amukamra slipped to the Giants in the first-round during the 2011 NFL Draft and was considered the "best player available."
Note: The average value at cornerback is a first-round pick, but not all CBs were drafted in the first round (Terrell Thomas, 2nd round and Corey Webster, 2nd round).
Looking beyond the top 71% value, the Giants have continued to focus much of their attention on the defensive line, but of the interior variety with 8%. There are four selections there that average a third-round pick, and whom also directly contribute to the success of the pass rush.
Going into the 2012 NFL Draft, the Giants' primary cause for concern is at the tight end position. As you can see by the numbers above, less than 1% of their overall value has been spent on tight ends, with their only selection being Travis Beckum (3rd round, 100th overall) in 2009. Beckum will likely begin the 2012 season on the Physically Unable Perform (PUP) List with a torn ACL.
A total of 7% of their overall value has been spent on the offensive line, with no value at the center position. Three of the four players drafted remain with the team, two of whom (Will Beatty and Chris Snee) are starters.
Based on all of these numbers, it seems like the Giants draft for pass rush and pass offense as opposed to "best player available." Then again, one could make the argument that it's merely a coincidence and the best player(s) available since 2004 have primarily been those that strengthen both the aerial attack and pass rush (see: Mathias Kiwanuka, Prince Amukamara and Hakeem Nicks as primary examples).
Whatever case may be, there does appear to be a method to the madness.
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